Archive for the ‘Crypto News’ Category

bitFlyer, the largest Japanese cryptocurrency exchange has been granted payment institution (PI) license to operate in the European Union (EU) and is now accepting registrations for users from EU. It is interesting to note that this has become the first Bitcoin exchange to be regulated in Japan, the US and Europe, making it the most compliant virtual currency exchange in the world at the moment. The Japanese crypto market is booming and thanks to bitFlyer users from Europe and USA should be able to get access and trade Bitcoins on that market.

The not so good news at the moment is that bitFlyer’s initial product offering is only the BTC/EUR pair, though the already has company plans to add support for other virtual currencies such as Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) later in the year. bitFlyer Europe is offering zero percent trading fees as an introductory promotion until the end of February 2018.

There are two account classes available at bitFlyer at the moment, one is Trade and the other one is Trade Pro with the difference being the limits you get. The catch with the standard Trade account is that your virtual currency deposits will be put on hold until your make your first EUR deposit. The Trade Pro option does require an ID and residential proof and unlocks unlimited deposits and withdraws of crypto and EUR. It is not yet know how much time a verification will take with the recent peak of registrations of new users in pretty much every open crypto exchange on a daily basis. Our experience however has shown that it is a good idea to register early and avoid possible issues later on, even if you do not start to use an exchange immediately.

To check out the European branch of the bitFlyer cryptocurrency exchange…

Kraken, one of the big crypto exchange is finally back online after an extended downtime of over two days due to problems experienced during scheduled and long overdue upgrade of the trading system. The long period of downtime for the popular exchange, especially among European users has caused a lot of different rumors and speculations to circle around, even though the exchange has tried to assure users that all funds are safe. The main concern was that people did not have access to their funds stored on the exchange and within turbulent market that could mean a lot of potential losses, especially for day traders. Anyway, the good news is that no funds were lost and any transfers of crypto to the exchange during the downtime should also be available in the user’s balances.

Do note that all orders have been cancelled prior to trading resuming and all trading pairs were launched with no orders on the books, so be extra careful at the moment when placing orders, especially for sales or buys with market price. Withdrawals are currently disabled and will remain disabled for a minimum of 12 hours, for fiat or crypto deposits (initiated before, during or following the downtime) users should allow up to 2 additional business days for funds to be credited. Kraken has also activated zero fee trading for all clients (across non-margin trades) starting today and lasting through the end of this month (January) as an excuse for the caused trouble with the long downtime.

Update: It seems that not all issues have yet been resolved and soon after getting back online the exchange has taken down trading until they resolve a problem with the order book data not being displayed properly.

The first days of the New Year came with an unpleasant surprise for many if not all users of Visa debit cards powered by Bitcoin and/or other crypto currencies as services such as Wirex and Xapo among others just stopped working. The reason was not known at first apart from the fact that the issuer of the actual Visa prepaid cards, a company called WaveCrest, has deactivated them after getting instructed to do so directly from Visa. WaveCrest is the Visa debit card partner for many services offering Bitcoin or other crypto currency wallets that can be accessed and funds in them used through the prepaid debit cards. Below is a quote of the email message sent from WaveCrest to all its customers regarding the issue, not many details revealed as of the reason for cards getting deactivated.

Dear Cardholder,

We, WaveCrest, are the issuer of your Visa Prepaid card, which you have enrolled for through one of our program partners. Visa have today instructed us that we must close all WaveCrest issued Visa Prepaid Cards with immediate effect.

How will this affect you?

Your WaveCrest-issued Visa Prepaid Card will no longer function. However, as your funds were stored in your e-wallet they will remain accessible to you via your wallet provider.

We thank you for your cooperation.

Yours sincerely,
WaveCrest

Services such as Wirex and Xapo are still working and offering their customers access to their funds, though the plastic or virtual cards issued by them are no longer operating while they find another solution with another issues of debit cards. If you are using any other service that is offering a prepaid Visa debit card powered by crypto currencies and it has stopped working suddenly, then the reason is most likely the same – they have used WaveCrest as the card issuer as well. If you are using a service that still has functioning Visa prepaid debit card powered by BTC or another crypto please feel free to share the name of the service as most likely they are using an alternative card issuer. The chances are however that other Visa card issuers like WaveCrest might have also received the same order from Visa to shut down the cards of their crypto partners.

On a side note, we are hearing that in some European countries more and more banks are starting to refuse to accept banks transfers coming from crypto exchanges after being advised to do so from their central banks. Apparently there is something cooking in the EU regarding crypto and this year we might actually see some sort of regulation coming up on a European Union level and we are yet to see if it will be for good or for bad.


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